The castle - and the homonymous borough - made it to the headlines for the discovery of a Roman sarcophagus, and for its Etruscan archaeological findings. Before reaching the village - still housing its ancient parish church, that tradition has it dates back to the 8th century AD - we pass along some "Leopoldine" farmhouses, on a winding road that slowly ascends to the small hill where this cosy village is built.
Montebenichi and its castle were established by the Lombards.
The village is noteworthy for its archaeological findings – namely a Roman sarcophagus, fictile material and Etruscan tombs – which have conferred to the village an important place among historians and archaeologists in Italy and Europe.
To that it shall be added the parish church of St Maria in Altaserra, seemingly built in the 8th century AD, over pre-extant Roman structures.
As the whole Valdambra, the village was bitterly contested by many – the Republics of Florence and Siena, the Papal State, Venice and Milan – and as a result, both the borough and the castle were looted many times, until their complete destruction in 1478.
The hamlet is renowned for having been the birthplace of Gregorio Stendardi (otherwise known as “Goro da Montebenichi”), a 16th century esquire and soldier of fortune, and then knight in the Medici’s service, whose ancestral palace is still standing in the centre of the village. As of today, Montebenichi is a delightful tourist town featuring an exclusive hotel allowing a perfect immersion into the wilderness, nature and history.
All of this has been made possible by the careful restoration of the Castelleto, that houses its guests fully respecting its original structure.